How do you grab a potential customer’s attention? While many people speculate on this conundrum, it’s actually quite simple. One way is to evoke their curiosity -- their desire to know more. (But it has to be substantive, not manipulated, curiosity.)
When you evoke curiosity you create a gravitational pull that is irresistible. Customers are eager to take the next step.
You can create curiosity and reach by showing just a bit of the glitter of the gold you have to offer. Make it unexpected. For example, a new steak restaurant was floundering until they offered a $100 cheese steak plate. All of a sudden, they were on the evening news and people were flocking to try this ridiculously overpriced steak dish.
This is just one example of the unseen but powerful laws that determine the success or failure of your customers’ relationships. Besides invoking curiosity, here are a few other laws that can help entrepreneurs grow their network, win and keep new customers and increase revenues.
Great relationships are based on great conversations, not preaching. Walk into any retail store in your hometown and you’ll typically encounter one of two extremes: You’ll either get a sales clerk who won’t stop talking and explaining product features to you or you’ll encounter indifference and silence.
When approaching customers, find a happy medium between these two sales clerks. Customers want to have a vibrant discussion that helps to improve their understanding of their needs and the possible solutions you may offer.
How would you rate the quality of your client conversations right now? Do your conversations help your prospects improve their understanding of their challenges and how they can better fulfill their needs and goals? Or are you boring people by talking at them?
Build your network before you need it. I’m often asked, “How can I build more relationships with senior executives and influencers?” The best answer is follow the person, not the position. Build relationships with smart, motivated, interesting and ambitious people -- even if they’re not in an important job right now. Follow them throughout their careers. Build trust and offer up help before ever asking them for something. They will become promoters of you and your business and introduce you to other useful contacts.
Know the other person’s agenda and help them accomplish it. Have you ever been in a meeting with a customer who seemed distracted? Perhaps you noticed their eyes wandering or saw them reach for their smartphone. Or have you tried to get an appointment with an executive who just wouldn’t make room in their schedule for you?
In both cases, the problem is the same: You are not showing how you are relevant to the other person’s agenda of critical priorities. This agenda is always your starting point for building a power relationship. It embraces someone’s goals, but it’s even broader.
Everyone in the workplace has an agenda of three to five professional priorities that they are focused on. Plus, they also have a personal agenda. You need to understand both.
Whether you’re talking about a customer, a colleague, your boss or a friend, your first job is to understand that person’s priorities. Do you know what is important to them right now? Only when you understand this will you clearly see how you can help them and add value to the relationship. Only then will you be able to put your product or service in the context of what’s most important to that individual.
Enthusiasm is contagious. Enthusiasm for what you do and for your business is a powerful but underrated quality. It energizes everyone around you and lifts them up. Think of Richard Branson’s irrepressible zest for his businesses and life: It’s virtually a part of his brand.
Your own enthusiasm influences everyone around you. It attracts others to you. It makes people want to be in a relationship with you. It inspires commitment and makes you a powerful influencer.